Scale Up Your Business Podcast
Entrepreneur in Focus - Arron Shepherd, Co-Founder of The Goat Agency
At the age of 23, Arron Shepherd moved to Dubai and became Global Director of Business Development at the First Group, increasing their revenues from £25m to £350m in just three years.
He then moved to London and founded Sports Lobster, building a team of over 60 staff, onboarding over two million users, and forged partnerships with Cristiano Ronaldo, The NBA and Crystal Palace.
From here he established The Goat Agency, which takes the concept of personal branding to the next level, reaching people in a credible and authentic way.
In this very special episode, Nick talks in depth to Arron about his journey, his core beliefs, leadership, how to build a successful team, and his vision for the future.
Arron set up his first business at the age of 18, and since then has had the invaluable advice of his father, also an entrepreneur, who acts as Arron’s business mentor. By asking questions at key points in his own journey, and from seeing the benefits of risk-taking, Arron has developed and inherited a suit of business armour.
Business is all about people and learning how to motivate them correctly. As Arron points out, if you only motivate your team in an average way, you’ll only have an average business. If you want an exceptional business, you need normal people to be exceptional.
Arron credits his own self-awareness as his biggest strength. By identifying the qualities that his excels at, he can then leverage the parts of business that he is not so strong with.
Leadership is all about trust. Arron’s default belief is that his team will succeed if they are given opportunities to do so. So often, Arron sees people not being given opportunities because of fear of what might happen, which he believes is fundamentally wrong.
Lack of self-belief is an area of business that often holds people back. Those who do not believe they are up to a task often only give part of their best, so that if they fail, they can blame it on the fact that they did work to their full potential.
Arron proved himself at an early age by striking at an opportunity to develop a building project in Kenya on behalf of his company in Dubai. This experience, while not ultimately successful, marked Arron out as someone who was willing to put himself forward, and who had the passion and drive to succeed.
Connecting with people in a positive way is vital for business. There’s no excuse not to be friendly and offer people a pleasant experience when dealing with you. You can be professional, efficient and accomplished at what you do, but you can also be nice while doing it.
The difference between a leader and a boss is the acceptance of responsibility, and the ability to accept blame when you need to. Leading through fear won’t inspire your team to work to their best.
Arron believes that peopling his business with those blessed with common sense, speed of thought and creativity is far more valuable to him and to his company, than someone who is book smart, or who has a longer period of experience.
Brands that have entrepreneurs at the top, or businesses that are run by someone who owns it, operate very differently. There is far more at stake for a business owner in that case. You are far more receptive to change, to spotting new opportunities for success, if your livelihood is at stake.
Too often, people seem to plan a business based on what it might become, instead of what will work in the present. In Arron’s opinion, a great business is one that is self-sustaining, that creates value, and that creates jobs and opportunities. But it needs to work straight away, whether you’re small or big.
Most importantly, you must be sure that your business, whatever it might be, is something you really want to do. If you don’t want it more than anything, then it’s not worth it.
‘If someone came and spent three days in this office with us, they’d learn more than they would at three years of a business degree in management’
‘Motivating normal people to do exceptional things is the biggest thing that entrepreneur has to do’
‘My success has always come from finding other people that fill the gaps around me’
‘The biggest lesson I’ve ever learned in my life is that no one really knows what they’re doing’
‘I’m an admirer of real people creating value out of nothing’
‘We’re looking for the smartest people we can find’
‘We judge on three things: Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Are you a team player?’
‘Our belief is that the world has changed far faster than the world realises’
‘I lose my house, they lose their job’
‘Having people to share the good and the bad with is so important’
‘I think people over-index on the value of being your own boss’
Scale Up Your Business Podcast
Arron Shepherd – LinkedIn
ABOUT THE HOST
My name is Nick Bradley. I’m an entrepreneur, author, speaker and investor.
My background is in growing and scaling VC, and Private Equity backed businesses.
Having successfully built, bought and sold a number of companies, and removed myself from day-to-day operations, my focus now is on helping entrepreneurs get to where they want to be, in business and in life. As well as investing in growth businesses and backing turnarounds - with the ultimate aim of creating value from significant capital events.
I’m passionate about personal and professional development - showing up and being the best version of myself ... every day.
My bigger vision is to help bring entrepreneurial skills, experience and mindset to people in developing nations - so they can follow their dreams, live life more on their terms - utilising entrepreneurship as a global force for good.